The Detroit Lions continue to fall out of the NFL Playoff picture. The team is dead last in a tough NFC North division. A game against the Green Bay Packers is a definite must win for the 4-5 Lions. A loss on Sunday would take the team to 4-6, and put them in a must win six straight games scenario to have a chance.
Going back ten years, the Lions have only beat the Packers on three occasions. In fact, the last time the Lions beat their rivals, Drew Stanton was the team’s quarterback. The last win was a close 7-3 victory in 2010. The other two wins were by scores of 17-3 (2005) and 22-14 (2003). As you can see, two of the Lions victories came when the Packers scored three points in the contest. Now I know it’s easier said than done, but the Lions really need to eliminate the Packers scoring and keep Sunday’s game a low scoring battle.
Fans who watched the last matchup between the two teams will remember an offensive battle. The Packers beat the Lions in a back and forth 45-41 game. In that game, Matthew Stafford threw for 520 yards, and Calvin Johnson had a career high 246 yards.
On the season, the Lions passing offense ranks 1st, with 307.3 yards per game. The team’s rushing offense has increased to 98.8 yards per game, but still ranks 24th in the league. On defense, the team ranks 9th in pass defense, and 19th in rushing defense.
The Packers offense has not been as proficient as recent years. The team averages only 249.3 yards passing and 99.7 yards rushing per game, good enough for 12th and 23rd respectively. Green Bay’s defense has struggled too as the team ranks outside the top ten in pass defense (20th) and rush defense (11th).
On paper, this is a good matchup for the Lions, putting their strong passing offense against a weak defense. The Lions weakness of rushing defense shouldn’t be a problem against a team that ranks 23rd in rushing with 99.7 yards per game.
The Packers have a lot of injuries that could also benefit the Lions. Pass rusher Clay Matthews will be out Sunday. Matthews has a hamstring injury that will keep him from putting pressure on Stafford and possibly taking away the pass completely. The Packers are also missing Charles Woodson, a key secondary defender. Greg Jennings continues to be out at wide receiver for the Packers, as they rely heavily on Jordy Nelson.
The Lions schedule doesn’t get any easier after Sunday. The team faces three current 7-1 teams the rest of the way in the Chicago Bears, Houston Texans and Atlanta Falcons. Look for the Lions to step up Sunday and get the win they deserve to once again put them back at .500.